:: By Neil Berman, Delivra ::
It’s no secret that a successful email marketing campaign can significantly impact several areas of a business, from sales to lead generation to brand awareness.
Email’s ability to help companies achieve a variety of goals is what makes it so powerful, but sometimes email marketing can seem a bit mysterious—marketers think it’s working, but they’re not always sure. They put together some amazing content, send it to their subscribers and hope for the best. Luckily, there is a more scientific method of determining the success of email marketing campaigns, and it starts with setting goals.
The first step in determining the success of an email marketing campaign starts before anyone ever hits ‘send.’ It’s important for marketers to narrow their focus before analyzing an email campaign. Setting solid, measurable goals before launching a campaign will help determine which metrics will best measure success. For example, say your goal is to raise brand awareness. That’s not something you can precisely measure, but you can measure whether people forward your emails and share your social media posts—both of which are actions that increase brand awareness.
Understand Top Metrics
Goals will vary for each email campaign, but discussed below are some of the top metrics to help marketers gauge success.
Let’s say a company wants to first examine how many people are opening their emails. That’s a pretty easy statistic to measure. Open rates can reveal a lot about the success of an email marketing campaign. If you launch a new campaign and find open rates are steadily decreasing, think critically about why people aren’t interested in reading your messages. In this situation, it may be a good time to try A/B testing different subject lines to determine whether a new approach could boost open rates.
But, if success is defined as the number of people who clicked through an email to reach your website, that will take a bit more effort.
A “click-through” is when a URL link in an email has been clicked on to view another Web page (e.g., a company’s homepage). Tracking click-through rates will allow marketers to see the percentage of readers who clicked on one or more links in an email. This is a very important metric to measure, because it gives marketers direct insight into how many subscribers are engaging with their emails and what specific content they are interested in learning more about.
If you accomplish the initial goal of driving more website traffic but find sales aren’t increasing, you might be missing a piece of the puzzle. Study website analytics to see where you’re losing people. Perhaps your search function isn’t working properly, or you’re not providing adequate product information.
If a subscriber does click-through an email, typically the next goal is to get that person to complete a desired action, such as filling out a lead-gen form or purchasing a product. A conversion rate allows marketers to track this, seeing how many people who clicked-through an email actually completed an action. This is a good metric to track over time, as it can give marketers a good sense of what type of content is most effective with subscribers.
To measure conversation rates, you’ll need to integrate your email platform with your web analytics (like Google Analytics). Using GA’s URL Builder you can create a unique tracking URL for email subscribers, so when they click on the link, GA will record where they came from.
Subscriber list growth rate
It should be every marketer’s goal to grow their subscriber list. This will expand their audience, drive more traffic to their site and potentially lead to new sales. That being said, the list growth rate is a key metric to pay attention to. Many marketers understand the importance growing email subscriber lists, but may not realize that email lists decrease at a rate of at least 22.5 percent annually, according to Marketing Sherpa. This means you have to constantly pay attention and make an effort to grow your list.
Email sharing and forwarding rate
The rate at which email recipients share or forward an email with others may not seem that significant, but it can be one of the most important statistics to track. A subscriber who forwards a company’s email is expanding their outreach, introducing them to potential new subscribers and ultimately helping them attract new leads. Be sure to encourage your readers to forward emails to their friends or colleagues. If the recipient likes what they see, they may go sign up for your email as well. If people aren’t sharing your emails, it might be a sign you should tweak or improve your content strategy.
Revisit your goals
Tracking these metrics can provide great insight into how an email marketing campaign is performing and also what areas may need to be improved upon. Metrics are most effective for analyzing individual components of a campaign. Set short-term goals and measure them routinely. How often analytics should be reviewed depends on how often emails are sent out, but making a conscious effort to revisit data bi-weekly, monthly, etc. can help you achieve your long-term goals.
Neil Berman is the founder and CEO of Delivra, an email marketing service provider and strategic consultancy. With nearly 20 years in the software industry, Berman continues to be driven by a passion to find innovative solutions that help clients win in their industries.